Interview: Dámaso Peláez

Dámaso Peláez,
Country Manager India at STI Norland

“STI Norland has recently reached the milestone of 3 GW, globally. Could you please share more details on this achievement?”

Our sales growth is developing at such fast-paced speed that last September’s announcement about reaching 3 GW milestone is already outdated. Although we haven’t officially announced it, we are currently closing several contracts that will make us reach a global track record of 4 GW. Our biggest markets are Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Spain.

“STI Norland has unveiled the 4th generation dual-row single-axis solar tracker STI-H250. Could you please introduce Energetica India readers to the product and its USPs?”

STI Norland pioneered in 2017 by developing the STI-H250™, the first dual-row solar tracker in the world. It is comprised of two torsion beams that rotate simultaneously moved by just one motor, cutting supply and maintenance costs.

The 4th generation of STI-H250™ increases the adaptability to complex terrains and irregular layouts. The data collected during months of real experience on-site allowed STI Norland to keep applying improvements on the product and reach the current advanced version of our dual-row tracker. Our unique selling point is above all its reliability, on top of its compatibility with bifacial modules and automated cleaning robots.

Other manufacturers are now following our steps, which shows that we were on the right track when designing a dual-row tracker. Fortunately, we are so much ahead in terms of experience and product development.

“What is your opinion on the Indian solar tracker market, considering the very low solar tariffs in the country?”

There is no denying that the solar tracker was a niche market for the last couple of years in India. The very low solar tariffs in the country, together with a very aggressive design on MMS on terms of weight per MW, and a general lack of proper assessment on the yield increase for every project on the use of trackers versus fixed structure, have made it difficult for the implementation of trackers in PV projects. Nonetheless, we have seen lately traction from several developers on the use of bifacial modules where the solar tracker is the natural solution to be implemented.

“What kind of services/products do you offer in the Indian market?”

In India, as well as in the rest of the world, we offer both our MMS proven solutions, STI-F3™ single-post as well as STI-F5™ dual-post, as well as our solar tracker solutions. We like to engage with the developers at the earlier stage of the project to actively propose the best solution in terms of LCOE and reliability.

“How do you foresee the solar tracker technology changing over the next few years? Is there scope left for further improvements?”

The market seems to be gradually shifting into bifacial modules, where the solar tracker is the most adequate solution, with a yield increase of up to 25 percent according to several studies. the main market being Middle East where several tenders of hundreds of MW are being tenders with bifacial modules. In India, a price-driven market, the shift will take a bit longer, but we have no doubt that eventually, the bifacial modules will become the mainstream solution, and then the solar tracker will play a much bigger role.

“Could you please name some of your major global projects?”

Our largest PV project is Puerto Libertad in Mexico, where we supplied 1,500 units of our centralized solar tracker STI-H250™. With 405 MWp, it is the largest renewable project of our customer Acciona, the world’s leader in renewable energy not linked to conventional electric power generation company.

Acciona was also our customer for other of our largest projects, El Romero. We supplied our dual-post fixed-tilt structure STI-F5™ to this 247 MWp solar plant located in Chile.

“What kind of certifications do STI Norland products/services come with?”

Some of our structures’ certifications are UL3703, UL2703, EN1090, and IEC62817. Besides, TÜV Rheinland annually certifies STI Norland’s management systems and processes under ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems).

Our manufacturing quality control is certified under EN10204, EN10204, and EN10204. We also count on the welding certificates WPS ISO 15609, WPQR ISO 15614, and WPQ/WOQ ISO 9606.

Interview 05/03/2020 by News Bureau
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